Pay Gap or Equal Pay?
While often used interchangeably, the pay gap and pay equity are distinct concepts.
According to WGEA, the gender pay gap is the difference between the average earnings of women and men in the workforce. The gender pay gap is an indicator of women’s overall position in the workforce in comparison to men and is influenced by a number of factors including discrimination and bias, industry and job characteristics, shares of unpaid caring and domestic work, the under-representation in senior roles, and lack of workplace flexibility.
Equal pay, or pay equity, is about equal pay for work of equal or comparable value. Pay equity is one of many factors that contribute to the pay gap. Even though equal remuneration is required by the Fair Work Act of 2009, unequal pay continues to be an issue, and organisations may be paying employees unequally without even realising. This is why it is important that organisations undertake regular pay equity analyses.
Does the pay gap only affect women?
In Australia, the vast majority of research on pay gaps focusses on gender.
We do know, however, that pay gaps also exist for:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (see Australian Government, Closing the Gap).
- people with disability (see APO, A fair go? Measuring Australia’s progress in reducing disadvantage for adults with disabilities (2001-2016); Australian Institute of Health & Welfare, People with disability in Australia
- people who identify as LGBTIQ+ 
- people from culturally and/or racially marginalised backgrounds (see ABC News, Culturally diverse women paid less, stuck in middle management longer and more likely to be harassed ), particularly with a migrant status (see Migrant Justice Institute, Wage Theft in Australia: Findings of The National Temporary Migrant Work Survey).